Preparations are well under way for Jimena’s Carnival, which opens tonight, starting at 10pm. As seems to happen every year, our Carnival coincides with the worst weather no matter when our turn is. JimenaPulse has tried before to give an idea what it is all about – no resemblance to Notting Hill or Rio – but failed miserably, so we will not attempt it again. However, there are plenty of colourful pointers you might be interested in:
It is a very advanced course in Andaluz Spanish and even our intrepid and fully bilingual Prospero has to buy the various little booklets to find out what the words are to the songs, very often taking the p**s out of politicians of all kinds.>
A pregón is the ‘official’ presentation of the three-day event, which Prospero was honoured to be asked to do twelve years ago, when he dressed up as a guiri (foreigner). The difference between a comparsa, a cuarteto (no, it can include three or five people so it’s not necessarily a quartet), a chirigota and various other kinds of groups remains unclear to many, even the semi-initiated (especially to Prospero, who should know better).
Everything starts much later than announced and often goes on until dawn. Foreigners tend to turn up too early for everything in the reasonable expectation that things start more or less on time – don’t, or you’ll miss it unless you stay a long while holding up the crowded bar. Children get to dress up on Saturday afternoon, when it is their time for fun, clowns and games – adults dress up any time, though their fancy dress competition is usually at about dawn on Sunday.
Parades through the street are the norm on Sunday; Get some sleep during the day coz it goes on til late, very late… And the whole thing is FUN, FUN, FUN.
(First published on JimenaPulse in February 2008 - nothing much has changed, particularly in Prospero's elucidation in the subject.)